Portree - Pulteney Town

A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1846.

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'Portree - Pulteney Town', in A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, 1846) pp. 388-396. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/scotland/pp388-396 [accessed 21 April 2024]

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PORTREE, a parish, mostly in the Isle of Skye, and wholly in the county of Inverness; including the islands of Fladda, Rasay, and Rona; and containing 3574 inhabitants, of whom 510 are in the village of Portree, 25 miles (N. W.) from Broadford, 21 (E.) from Dunvegan, 80 (N. by E.) from Tobermory, 110 (N. by W.) from Obau, and 109 (W. by S.) from Inverness. This place was formerly called Ceilltarraglan, a compound Gaelic term which signifies "a burying-ground at the bottom of a glen," and which was particularly appropriate; but after the visit of King James V. to the northern portion of his dominions, and his putting into the bay here, where he remained for some time, the name was changed to Portree, or Port-roi or righ, "the King's harbour." The parish consists of the portion properly called Portree, and the islands of Rasay, Rona, and others of small extent, separated from the main body by a branch of the Atlantic Ocean, called Rasay sound. It measures seventeen miles in length and twelve in breadth, and is principally a pastoral district, the quantity of land under tillage being but very small in comparison with the part uncultivated. On the east is an arm of the sea dividing Rasay from the parishes of Gairloch and Applecross. The long line of coast exhibits great diversity of appearance: its lofty and almost perpendicular rocks are succeeded in some places, especially at the heads of the lochs, by sudden depressions sinking almost to the level of the beach; and the shores are intersected by numerous breaks and fissures. Among the bays are those of Loch Inord, Loch Sligichan, Camistinavaig, and several small bays in the island of Rasay; but that of Portree is by far the most considerable, and is capable of containing several hundred sail, shelter on all sides being afforded by very high lands, and its tenacious clayey bottom supplying excellent anchorage. The Rasay branch of the Atlantic, which washes the parish throughout its whole length, is sufficiently deep for the passage of a first-rate ship of war. It receives a large influx of fresh water from the hills on each side, bringing down earthy deposits which, from the rapidity of the currents in its friths, render it turbid and dark in wintry or stormy weather; but in the tranquillity of summer it is beautifully clear.

The surface in the interior is varied with hills, valleys, and plains, interspersed with innumerable springs of the purest water, several lakes and rivulets, and some highly ornamented cascades, which together render the scenery deeply interesting. The district is circumscribed by a most circuitous and irregular outline, approaching in its general form to an oblong, and is traversed from south to north by a glen, skirted on each side by a range of hills greatly differing in height and dimensions. The most striking elevation is that called Aite Suidhe Fhin, "the sitting-place of Fingal," where that celebrated hero is traditionally reported to have sat to direct his followers in the chase, and which, rising gradually from the head of Loch Portree, reaches 2000 feet above the level of the sea. Near this, on the east side of the harbour, and of almost equal height with the former, rises the hill of Peindinavaig, or "the hill of protection;" while much to the south are the hill of Beinligh, and that of Glamaig, with the loch of Sligichan between them. The latter is crowned with a verdant tract, and has a spring sending forth an immense quantity of clear water: indeed all the elevations, with slight exceptions, are covered to their summits with excellent pasture for sheep and cattle, and are well watered with springs and rivulets. There are six fresh-water lochs, most of which abound in good trout; and though of no great extent, the largest not being above a mile long, they exhibit much picturesque and beautiful scenery, enriched, in Rasay, with clumps of natural wood, or grotesque rocks. From their vicinity may be seen the celebrated hills of Cullins, in the parish of Bracadale, and of Store, in the parish of Snizort; and from a loch in Rasay, in favourable weather, a very fine prospect may be had of all the hills in the district, to the point of Hunish. with the expanse of sea to the island of Lewis. The climate is one of the most variable to be found, many descriptions of weather being frequently experienced within the space of a day and night; and diseases arising from the sudden changes of temperature, are often prevalent.

The soil between the hills is to a great extent peatmoss, whence the inhabitants are amply supplied with their ordinary fuel; but that most general is a gravelly earth, abounding in springs. These render the land raw and unproductive; and in addition to the natural sterility of the soil, the poverty of the inhabitants, and their necessarily imperfect system of husbandry, the vicissitude of the weather, either in seed-time or in harvest, and sometimes in both, often destroys at once the hopes of the year. The whole of the main land part of the parish belongs to Lord Macdonald; and the island of Rasay, with its subordinate isles, to Macleod, of Rasay. The former proprietor, about the year 1811, for the accommodation of the rapidly increasing population, caused all the farms held by small tenants to be subdivided into allotments or crofts. This has tended still further to increase the number of persons here located; and the inhabitants now so far exceed the productive capabilities of the soil, as to place the tenants upon the lowest possible scale with respect to the comforts of life, as well as to keep the land far below the average state of that in neighbouring districts. The crooked spade is used, and is well suited to the peculiar character of the surface, the arable portion frequently hanging on steeps and precipices, and being set with rocks or large stones; and after the seed is sown the hollows and inequalities are neatly raked over, and smoothed with a hand-harrow. Even were the tenants competent to the undertaking, the land is incapable of successful draining, as its fixed watery nature, arising from springs, would soon cause it to revert to its original spongy character. The crofters live in huts of the meanest condition, and are often without proper food and clothing; this however is in no way attributable to any want of disposition to promote improvements, but to poverty and destitution which they are unable to controul. Their sobriety and general character are spoken of in the highest terms; and this circumstance has induced the proprietor, for these few last years, to expend considerable sums of money in sending part of the population to the British colonies in North America.

A large tract in the parish is undivided common, consisting of hill pasture which is covered in the summer months with cattle, which are small but hardy, and mostly out of shelter for the whole year. They are supported in the winter on straw; but after feeding at the return of spring on the pasture, which is chiefly mossgrass, they acquire strength and flesh, and are carried off by the south-country dealers in large numbers, to fatten for the markets of England, where they are much esteemed, and fetch a high price. The sheep are a cross between the native stock and the black-faced of the south; the horses, though very small, are hardy. The breeds of cattle and sheep are much attended to; and great improvements have recently taken place in consequence of the stimulus given by the premiums of the Highland and local agricultural societies, and especially by the facilities of conveyance to the leading markets by steam navigation. Coal was wrought about the beginning of the present century by Lord Macdonald; but the expense, after a regular system of operations had been for some time carried on by experienced colliers from the south, proved so great that the quantity raised was not sufficient to remunerate the proprietor, and the work was abandoned. Excellent granite is found in several places, particularly in Rasay, and, being of very hard texture, is formed into millstones for grinding oats and barley, which are sold at from £9 to £12 per pair, and supply all the mills in Skye and the neighbouring parishes. Limestone is abundant; and at Portree, on both sides of the harbour, freestone is found in very large quantities in the lofty rocks, which are nearly perpendicular. Stone of the same species, but of far superior quality, is obtained in great plenty in Rasay; and some of it was used in building, a few years since, the elegant mansion of the proprietor of the island, the only gentleman's seat in the parish. Near this residence are some fine old trees; but the other wood in the parish is only plantation of Scotch fir, larch, birch, ash, and oak, of recent formation, and situated principally in the island of Rasay and the village of Portree.

The village, in which the population amounts to above 500, is ornamented by some pretty plantations, and contains several good houses and shops, and a branch establishment of the National Bank of Scotland. The sheriff-substitute of the district of Skye holds his courts in the court-room of the gaol here, as the superintendent of the judicial affairs of the place; and there is a post-office having a regular delivery of letters three times a week. A road has been formed through the whole length of the parish, under the direction of the parliamentary commissioners for building bridges and making roads in the Highlands and islands; and Glasgow steam-boats, weekly in the summer, and monthly in the winter, come into the harbour, by which means the cattle and other produce are sent to the southern markets. Salmon, also, the fishing of which belongs to a small company from the south, is cured in the village, and forwarded by the same conveyance to Glasgow and London. Three fairs are held, respectively in May, July, and November, the two former for the sale of black-cattle, and the latter for the hiring of servants and for other business. The rateable annual value of the parish is £3195. It is in the presbytery of Skye and synod of Glenelg, and in the patronage of the Crown: the minister's stipend is £150, of which about one-half is received from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe, consisting principally of moss and hill pasture, and valued at £11 per annum. The church, built about the year 1820, for the accommodation of 800 persons with sittings, is situated in the village, but on account of its distance from the southern boundary, which is fifteen miles off, is inconvenient for a considerable portion of the population. A missionary is stationed in the parish, on the establishment of the committee of the General Assembly, and receives a salary from the bounty allowed by the crown for the benefit of the Highlands. The parochial school, also situated in the village, affords instruction in Latin, Greek, geography, book-keeping, and English, in addition to the elementary branches; the master has a salary of £34. 4., with a house, an allowance for a garden, and £5 fees. There is a branch parochial school in Rasay, in which the elementary branches only are taught; also two schools where the instruction is in Gaelic, this being the vernacular tongue.


PORTSBURGH, a burgh of barony, in the parish of St. Cuthbert, county of Edinburgh. This place, which was once a portion of the barony of Inverleith, was conveyed by its ancient lords, the family of Touris, to Hepburn, of Humby, from whose descendants the superiority was purchased in 1648 by the corporation of Edinburgh. Of that city it now forms an integral part, comprising Easter and Wester Portsburgh, which are divided by the lands stretching along the north boundary of the Heriot's Hospital estate and the old south wall of the city. Easter Portsburgh comprehends the district to the east of Bristo-street, including Potter-row and Lothian and South-College streets, with parts of Drummond and Nicholson streets; Wester Portsburgh comprises the lands extending from Wharton-lane to Lochrin, including the site of the King's stables to the south of the castle, and the whole of Laurieston, with Cowfield-row, Portland-place, and Home and Leven streets. The district intervening between Easter and Wester Portsburgh embraces the west side of Bristo-street, Park-place, Teviot-row, the Meadow Walk, and the sites and grounds of Watson's and the Lying-in hospitals, all forming parts of the city of Edinburgh, which see. The burgh is governed by a baron-bailie, generally one of the old magistrates of Edinburgh, two resident assistant bailies, and a procurator-fiscal, appointed by the town-council of the city, whose magistrates have jurisdiction both in civil and criminal cases, and hold courts for the determination of pleas to any amount, and for the trial of all offences not capital. The ancient mansion-house was the seat of Napier, of Merchiston, the inventor of logarithms.


PORTSEATON, a village, in that part of the parish of Tranent which formed a portion of the late quoad sacra parish of Cockenzie, county of Haddington, 2 miles (N. by W.) from Tranent; containing 270 inhabitants. This place derives its name from the family of Seaton, earls of Winton, who were proprietors of the estate on which it is built. It is situated on the shore of the Frith of Forth, and is inhabited by persons connected with the fisheries, in conjunction with the population of Cockenzie, of which it may be regarded as a continuation, and under which head the fisheries are described. A mill has been erected for the preparation of linseed-oil; it is worked by steam, and after the extraction of the oil, the residue is formed into cakes for feeding cattle. Seaton House, a magnificent palace, and partially occupied in 1715 by the old Brigadier Mackintosh, has been removed, with its fine gardens and terrace-walks, and is succeeded by a modern mansion of no architectural pretensions. The old collegiate church, which was considerably injured by the Earl of Hertford in 1544, and more wantonly in subsequent times, is an interesting specimen of Gothic architecture, now carefully preserved by the Earl of Wemyss, the proprietor; it contains the mausoleum of the Seaton family. The children of the village attend the schools established in the parish.


PORTSKERRAY, a village, in that part of the parish of Reay which is in the county of Sutherland, 13 miles (W. S. W.) from Thurso; containing 371 inhabitants. This village is situated on the bay of Bighouse, about a mile to the east of the village of Melvich, and on the turnpike-road from Thurso to Tongue; and is inhabited chiefly by persons engaged in the fisheries, which are carried on here to a considerable extent. The scenery is enlivened by the windings of the river Halladale, which flows near the western extremity into the bay, where a small harbour has been formed, affording secure shelter to the vessels employed in the fishery. Among the fish taken are cod, ling, turbot, skate, whiting, haddocks, flounders, sand-eels, and occasionally smelts; and a herring and salmon fishery have been established for some years with success.


PORTSOY, a sea-port town, a burgh of barony, and lately a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Fordyce, county of Banff, 8 miles (W. by N.) from Banff, and 18 (E. by N.) from Fochabars; containing 1720 inhabitants, of whom 1523 are in the burgh. This place is supposed to have derived its name from Loch Soy, originally an extensive sheet of water in its immediate vicinity, but which since the erection of the town has been greatly reduced by draining, and is now converted into a mill-dam. Portsoy is a place of some antiquity, and appears by charter of Mary, Queen of Scots, granted in 1550 to Walter Ogilvy, of Boyne, its ancient proprietor, to have been erected into a burgh of barony: the Earl of Seafield is now the superior. The town is situated on a point of land projecting into the Moray Frith, and on the western bank of the streamlet Durn, which here falls into the sea; it is small, and irregularly built, but nevertheless of very pleasing appearance. The coast, though not precipitous, is bold and rocky; most of the houses command a fine view of the sea, and the environs comprise much pleasing scenery, which derives additional interest from the mansionhouse of Durn, within half a mile of the town. Two public libraries, containing a good collection of volumes on history and general literature, are supported by subscription; and there is also a small theological library, in connexion with the Sabbath school. The manufacture of fine linen and thread, formerly carried on here for the supply of the English market, has been for some years discontinued; and the only manufacture now is that of ropes for the use of the fishermen, together with the making of various trinkets from the Portsoy marble, for which the parish is celebrated. The staple trade of the place is the exportation of grain and herrings, and the importation of coal, bones for manure, and a few other commodities. The number of vessels at present registered as belonging to the port is eight, of the aggregate burthen of 556 tons, and all employed in the coasting-trade; and about an equal number of foreign vessels, from various parts of the Baltic, annually visit the port, landing cargoes of bones, and taking away herrings in return.

The harbour affords safe accommodation to vessels of 100 tons, and in 1828 was greatly improved by the construction of a new pier, at great expense, by the Earl of Seafield, rendering it one of the most secure and commodious harbours on the coast. This pier was, however, considerably injured by a violent storm on the 7th of January, 1839; and by a second storm on the 30th of that month, was totally demolished. It has not since been rebuilt; the old pier is consequently still used for loading and unloading vessels, and, though small, is not inconvenient. About ten boats are employed in the cod and herring fisheries off the coast, each boat having a crew of four men; and when the fishermen go to more distant stations, larger boats are used, having crews of from five to seven men each. In successful seasons, each man upon an average clears £30. There is a small distillery in the town; and a mill for crushing bones, a saw-mill, and a threshing-mill, have recently been built, all of which are driven by one and the same water-wheel. Branches of the Aberdeen and North of Scotland Banks, and of the Banff Savings' Bank, have been established; and there are several inns, and various shops for the supply of the neighbourhood. The market, which is amply furnished with provisions of every kind, and with agricultural produce, is held weekly on Saturday, and numerously attended. The post-office has a tolerable delivery; and facility of communication is maintained by excellent roads, of which the turnpikeroads to Banff, Cullen, Elgin, Keith, and Huntly, pass through the parish. The burgh, under its original charter, ratified by James VI., is governed by a baron-bailie chosen by the Earl of Seafield; but the bailie, though vested with the ordinary powers, neither holds any courts nor exercises any jurisdiction, rather adjusting differences as an arbiter than using authority as a magistrate; and the burgh has neither property nor revenue. A small weekly custom is raised, sufficient merely to pay the salary of the person appointed to superintend the market. The late quoad sacra parish of Portsoy, including the town and surrounding district, and comprising an area of nearly five square miles, was separated from Fordyce by act of the General Assembly in 1836. The church, originally built as a chapel of ease, at a cost of nearly £900, is a neat substantial structure containing about 700 sittings, of which thirtyfive are free: the minister has a stipend of £80, of which £40 are paid by the Earl of Seafield, who is patron, and the remainder is derived from the seatrents. There are also in the town an episcopal chapel, a Free church, and a Roman Catholic chapel. A school is chiefly supported by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, who pay the master a salary of £15, to which £5 are added by the Earl of Seafield; and he has also a house, and grass for a cow, in addition to the school-fees, averaging about £20 annually.


PORT-WILLIAM, a village, in the parish of Mochrum, county of Wigton, 8½ miles (S. W.) from Wigton; containing 634 inhabitants. This is a neat and thriving sea-port village, situated on the eastern shore of Luce bay; it was built about 1762 by Sir William Maxwell, Bart., of Monreith, in honour of whom it is named. In 1788 small barracks were erected here for military, and for custom-house officers, in order to the prevention of contraband trade. The harbour is safe and commodious, and from it large quantities of potatoes and grain are shipped for Liverpool and Lancaster. The bay abounds with fish of excellent quality, and in great variety. In the village is a post-office, which has a daily delivery.


POWFOOT, a village, in the parish of Cummertrees, county of Dumfries, 2½ miles (W. by S.) from Annan, containing 72 inhabitants. This is a pretty rural watering-place on the Solway Frith; and forms a branch station of a fishery, in which its population is engaged. The parochial church stands about a mile north-east of the village.


PREMNAY, a parish, in the district of Garioch, county of Aberdeen, 3½ miles (S. S. W.) from Old Rain; containing, with the village of Auchleven, 691 inhabitants. This parish is about four and a half miles in length from north to south, and four miles in extreme breadth, and comprises between 5000 and 6000 acres, of which 3200 are arable, fifty plantations, and the remainder, with the exception of a small extent of good pasture, waste, moor, and mountain. The surface is considerably diversified. A chain of beautiful little hills or undulations runs along the centre from east to west, and is entirely cultivated except on the summits, which are covered with whins on a very thin and rocky soil; and from the bases of this range, extensive tracts of arable land rise on each side with gentle ascent. The northern portion of the parish is watered by the rivulet Shevock, forming about a mile of its boundary, and separating it from the parish of Insch; and the southern by the Gady, which enters on the west near the church of Leslie, and continues its course to the eastern limit, between acclivities well cultivated, and occasionally ornamented with picturesque hedge-rows. On the south side of this stream, which, as well as the Shevock, affords good trout, and opposite to the church, which is situated on its northern bank, rises the elevation called Tillymuick, a hill of moderate height and bleak appearance. A little farther southward is the mountain of Benochie, having its western extremity in this parish, and of which the summit, 1500 feet above the level of the sea, commands interesting and extensive prospects, embracing on the east many miles of the shore of the German Ocean, and on the north, the Moray Frith, and the Caithness hills in the distance. The soil in general is dry and productive, well suited to turnip husbandry, and incumbent on a gravelly subsoil or on rock; near the bases of the two principal hills it is poor, and rests upon a hard tenacious earth. The crops consist of oats, bear, turnips, potatoes, and grass, the cultivation of which, with the rearing of black-cattle and a few sheep and horses, constitutes the chief employment. The rotation of crops is practised; but many improvements in husbandry are still wanting, and the inclosures are very few in number, as well as deficient in condition. The rateable annual value of Premnay is £2226.

There are several kinds of rock; but the most abundant is red granite, which is found in great plenty in two of the hills, and, on account of its being easily wrought, is extensively used throughout the neighbouring district for building purposes. The hills in the centre of the parish supply a common stone adapted for the roads; and serpentine and limestone also exist, with some beds of very fine clay: the mosses on Benochie are still resorted to for fuel, but the lowland mosses are almost exhausted, and nearly the whole brought into cultivation. The mansion of Licklyhead, long the family seat of the proprietors of Premnay, was erected above 200 years since, in the castellated style, and is still inhabited; Overhall is a modern residence, built in a plain manner, and in tolerable repair. The village of Auchleven contains about twenty houses, and also one of the three cornmills in the parish, which is turned by the water of the Gady; one of the others is on the Shevock, and the third at Gariochsford. The inhabitants are partly engaged in the spinning and carding of wool, the former branch employing two jennies, and the latter three engines; the villagers also manufacture woollen cloth to a small extent. The public road from Insch to Keig passes over the Gady, at the village, by a bridge of two arches, erected in 1836 at a cost of £70; and this road is crossed near the centre of the parish by another, leading from the upper district of the country to Inverury and Aberdeen, and which in 1824 was made turnpike from the church to Mill of Carden, where it joins the great north road from Inverness to Aberdeen. A third road, lately made from Kinnethmont to Inverury, passes through the north of the parish. The produce is generally sent to Inverury, eleven miles distant from the church, whence lime, guano, and bones for manure, and coal, are obtained at all times for the use of the district. Bear from this place is used at the distilleries of Inverury and other places. The parish is within the limits of the presbytery of Garioch and synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of Sir Andrew Leith Hay, of Rannes: the minister's stipend is £159, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £12 per annum. The church, built in 1792, has 360 sittings, all free with the exception of sixty in a gallery erected in 1828 by the Kirk Session, with consent of the heritors. The parochial school affords instruction in Latin, Greek, mathematics, book-keeping, and all the elementary branches: the master has a salary of £27, with a house, an allowance for a garden, and £11 fees; also a share of the Dick bequest. The interest of £1000, left by the late Thomas Gordon, Esq., is distributed among the poor.


PRESTON, county of Berwick.—See Bunkle.


PRESTON, a hamlet, in the parish of Cranston, county of Edinburgh, 1 mile (E. N. E.) from the village of Cranston; containing 35 inhabitants. It is situated in the eastern quarter of the parish; and near it is Preston Hall, the splendid mansion of Mr. Callender.


PRESTON, a village, in the parish of Prestonpans, county of Haddington, 1½ mile (N. W. by W.) from Tranent; containing 57 inhabitants. This place, now a small and decayed, was formerly a considerable, village, and had a noted fair in October, called St. Jerome's fair. The barony was long the property of the Hamilton family, and there is the ruin of a tower in which they resided, and which was accidentally burnt in 1633. Preston now consists of a few mean houses and some old mansions; but its situation is pleasantly rural and retired. In the vicinity is an hospital founded by Dr. James Schaw, in 1784, for the maintenance and education of twenty-four boys, with preference to those of the names of Schaw, Macniell, Cunningham, and Stewart: the present building, which is very commodious, was erected in 1831, near the site of the old mansion of Preston House, that stood behind it, and had been previously used as the hospital. At the end of the village is the ancient cross.


PRESTON-MILL, a village, in the parish of Kirkbean, stewartry of Kirkcudbright, 14 miles (S.) from Dumfries; containing 76 inhabitants. Though now, like the preceding, a decayed village, this place was formerly a burgh of regality, under the superiority of the Regent Morton, who frequently inhabited the castles of Cavens and Weaths, which stood within the barony of Preston, and of each of which a portion still remains. There were four fairs held here annually; and the ancient cross is yet standing in the village, the only memorial of the privileges it once enjoyed.


PRESTONHOLME, a village, in the parish of Cockpen, county of Edinburgh, ½ a mile (S. by W.) from the village of Cockpen; containing 210 inhabitants. It is situated in the south-eastern quarter of the parish, on the bank of the South Esk; and is the seat of a considerable flax-spinning establishment, the proprietors of which support a school for the children of the workmen, allowing the master a dwelling-house, and a salary of £70.


PRESTONKIRK, a parish, in the county of Haddington, 5 miles (E. N. E.) from Haddington; containing, with the village of Linton, 1869 inhabitants. This place, originally called Linton from the principal village, assumed at the time of the Reformation the appellation of Prestonhaugh, from the position of its church near a meadow on the bank of the Tyne; and this name it still retains in legal documents, in common with its present name of Prestonkirk, which it afterwards obtained. The parish is about seven miles in length from north to south, and four miles in breadth from east to west, and comprises 6270 acres, of which 200 are meadow and pasture, and the whole of the remainder, with the exception of a little waste and wood, arable. The surface is nearly uniform, being broken only by the hill of Traprain Law, in some parts of nearly perpendicular, and in all of precipitate, elevation; and by a very narrow, deep, and richly fertile vale watered by a rivulet. The scenery upon the whole is pleasing, but not adorned with wood, except near the church and the hamlet of Preston, where are some few trees of remarkably fine growth. The river Tyne, which has its rise within ten miles of Haddington, intersects the parish from west to east, dividing it into two nearly equal portions, and falls into the sea about three miles from Dunbar; it forms a beautiful cascade at the village of Linton, which from that circumstance derives its name. The extent and beauty of this fall have, however, been greatly diminished by the cutting of the rocks, which were supposed to obstruct the passage of the salmon up the river; and it is only after floods or continued rains that the cascade displays its wonted grandeur. The removal of the obstructions, moreover, has not added to the quantity of salmon, which are still of small size and in small number; but trout of large size, eels, and flounders, are obtained in great plenty and of excellent quality.

The soil is generally good, and in some parts exceedingly rich; the crops are, wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, turnips, and mangel-wurzel. The system of agriculture is highly advanced; considerable progress has been made in draining and inclosing the lands, and the more recent improvements in the construction of implements of husbandry have been adopted. The introduction of bone-dust and guano manures has been attended with success; there is little waste or unprofitable land; the farm-buildings are substantial and commodious, and on most of the farms are threshing-mills, of which many are driven by steam. The substrata of the parish are, limestone, claystone, and clinkstone. The limestone is of a reddish brown colour, interspersed with veins of flint, and is covered with a deep incrustation of calcareous marl, which is substituted for lime in various agricultural uses. The claystone, which is by far the most extensive, appears in some places of the basaltic character, of a dark brown colour inclining to purple, impregnated with iron, and containing porphyry and crystals of felspar. The clinkstone has many varieties, resembling greenstone in some parts, in others interspersed with veins of yellow jasper susceptible of a high polish, and in others with veins of heavy spar. The rateable annual value of Prestonkirk is £16,256. Smeaton House, the seat of Sir Thomas B. Hepburn, Bart., is a handsome modern mansion; Beanston, the property of the Earl of Wemyss, has been deserted, and is fast going to decay. The village is pleasantly situated on the banks of the Tyne, and enjoys facility of intercourse with the neighbouring towns by good roads, which have been lately much improved: the great London road passes for four miles through the parish. There are several mills for oatmeal and barley, and one for flour; and a distillery was until recently carried on, which afforded employment to fifty persons, manufacturing about 500,000 gallons of whisky annually, and paying duty amounting to £112,000 per annum. The parish is in the presbytery of Dunbar and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and patronage of Sir Charles Dalrymple Fergusson, Bart.: the minister's stipend is £310. 13. 2., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £27. 10. per annum. The church was built in 1770, and enlarged in 1824; it is a neat substantial edifice adapted for a congregation of 800 persons. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, and the United Associate Synod. The parochial school is well conducted, and the master has a salary of £34. 4., with £30 fees, and a house and garden: the female parochial school is managed by a mistress, who has a salary of £3, with a house and schoolroom. There was also till lately a subscription school, of which the master received a salary of £40, with a house and garden. A church appears to have been founded here at a very early period by St. Baldred, the tutelar saint, but was destroyed, together with the neighbouring village, in an irruption of the Saxons. At Hailes are the ruins of Hailes Castle, for some time the residence of Mary, Queen of Scots, when carried off from Edinburgh by the Earl of Bothwell, its proprietor; part of it is appropriated as a granary, and the remainder is rapidly passing into decay. On the lands of Markle are the ruins of an ancient religious house, of which, after the Reformation, the greater portion of the lands was resumed by the crown, and annexed to the chapel royal at Stirling: little is known of the history of the establishment, but from the ruins it appears to have been of great extent, and the style of building of very rude character. There are several large upright stones, supposed to point out the places of interment of chiefs killed in battle; and in the immediate neighbourhood of one of these, near the village of Linton, stone coffins have been frequently discovered. George Rennie, Esq., of Phantassie, in this parish, was celebrated for his extensive improvements in agriculture: his son, the late John Rennie, Esq., eminent as a civil engineer, was born and educated here. Andrew Meikle, who, if not the original inventor of the threshing-machine, at least brought it to its present state of perfection, lived and died at Prestonkirk; and a tombstone is erected to his memory in the churchyard.


PRESTONPANS, a parish, in the county of Haddington; containing, with the villages of Cuthill, Dolphingstone, and Preston, and part of the late quoad sacra parish of Cockenzie, 2234 inhabitants, of whom 1659 are in the town of Prestonpans, 8 miles (E.) from Edinburgh. This place derived its name, originally Preston, or Prieststown, from its belonging to the monks of Holyrood, who eventually erected pans on the sea-shore for the manufacture of salt, after which it obtained the appellation of Salt-Preston, since changed into its present designation. In 1544, the town, which appears to have arisen from the establishment of the salt-works, was burnt by the English forces under the Earl of Hertford, on his invasion of Scotland; and the castle and the church were at the same time destroyed. In the immediate vicinity occurred, in 1745, the conflict called the battle of Prestonpans, in which the royal forces were defeated with great slaughter by the Highland troops in the interest of the Young Pretender, and which really took place within the limits of the parish of Tranent. From its situation on the high road to Edinburgh, it was, during its occupation by the monks of Holyrood, frequently honoured with the visits of the kings of Scotland; and there are still remaining the vestiges of the buildings supposed to have been inhabited by the brethren of that monastery.

The particulars of the battle are shortly these. Sir John Cope, the commander of the royal forces, on the afternoon of the 20th of September, perceiving the vanguard of the Young Pretender's army, drew up his troops in order of battle, having his foot in the centre, with a regiment of dragoons and three pieces of artillery on each wing. His right was covered by Col. Gardiner's park wall, and by the village of Preston; at some distance on his left, stood Seaton House; and the sea, with the villages of Prestonpans and Cockenzie, lay upon his rear. The Highlanders advancing with the utmost alacrity and spirit, the two armies were soon only a mile apart; the prince's occupying the ridge beyond the town of Tranent, with a gentle descent and a deep morass between them and their enemy. But, however desirous Charles was to indulge the impatience of his troops by an onset the same day, it was found impracticable from the nature of the ground, as the morass was deep and difficult, and could not be passed for the purpose of attacking the English in front without risking the loss of the whole army. Charles accordingly desisted, to the great dissatisfaction of the common Highlanders; nor did Cope, urged as he was by the bolder spirit of the gallant Colonel Gardiner, do otherwise than remain on the defensive, satisfied with the strength of his position. In the night, however, one of Charles's officers, Anderson of Whitburgh, who was well acquainted with the nature of the country, suddenly bethought himself of a path that wound from the heights where the prince's followers lay, towards the right, by the farm of Ringan Head, avoiding in a great measure the morass, and leading to the plain below. By this path the Pretender caused his troops to pass; and though some little difficulty was experienced, even in this selected place, yet they all soon reached the firm ground, concealed from the enemy at first by the darkness, and, when day began to break, by a frosty mist. The insurgents thus compelling General Cope to an engagement, he lost no time in disposing his troops, his order of battle being nearly the same as that adopted when he first saw the enemy on the previous day, except that the men's faces were now turned in a different direction, towards the east: his infantry stood in the centre, Hamilton's dragoons on his left, and Gardiner's, with the artillery before them, on his right next the morass. As soon as the mists rolled away before the rising sun, the Highlanders dashed forward, each clan a separate mass, and, raising a war-cry that gradually became a terrific yell, made so overwhelming an onset that but a short time elapsed before the day was decided. They first reached the royal artillery, which they took by storm, running straight on the muzzles of the cannon. The cavalry commanded by Hamilton and Gardiner soon wavered and took to flight, before the drawn swords of the Highlanders, notwithstanding the exertions of their leaders; and at length the infantry of the king's army, uncovered at both flanks, were completely beaten, not above 170 of them escaping from the field. Thus was a perfect victory obtained by the insurgents at every point, and in a space of time most astonishingly short. The numbers on each side were between 2000 and 3000: of these, Charles lost only thirty killed, and had but seventy wounded; while the number of slain on the royal side was nearly 400, including the brave and estimable Col. Gardiner, who, heading a party of foot when forsaken by his horsemen, was cut down by a Highlander with a scythe, and despatched with several wounds, close to his own park wall. This battle, called of Preston, or of Prestonpans, by the well-affected party, received the name of Gladsmuir from the insurgents, out of respect, as it would seem, to certain ancient predictions. "On Gladsmuir shall the battle be," says a book of prophecies printed at Edinburgh in 1615; but Gladsmuir, a large open heath, lies fully a mile to the east of the actual scene of conflict.

The parish is about two and a half miles in length, and about one mile in breadth; it is bounded on the north by the Frith of Forth, and comprises 740 acres, chiefly arable, and in a state of profitable cultivation. The surface is generally flat, and towards the Frith, which here forms a wide bay, is defended from the encroachments of the sea only by a low barrier of shelving rocks: south-west of the ancient village, however, are some trifling elevations which give a little variety. The soil is mostly a fertile loam, resting partly on clay and partly on gravel, the former deep and strong, and the latter thin and of lighter quality; the crops are, wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas, potatoes, and turnips. The system of husbandry is in an advanced state; the lands have been well drained, and are inclosed chiefly with stone dykes, which are preferred to hedges as taking less room, and affording no shelter for birds. The farm-buildings are substantial and well arranged, and all the more recent improvements in implements have been adopted. The substratum is shale and sandstone, connected with the coal formation: coal was extensively wrought here formerly, but at present one mine only is in operation. The principal trade carried on is the dredging of oysters, for the supply of the markets of Newcastle, Hartlepool, and Shields; the oysters found here are in much repute, and the taking of them affords employment to a considerable number of persons. The chief manufacture is that of salt, for which several pans are still in use; the rock-salt is imported mostly from Liverpool, in great quantities, and manufactured here in a superior way. There are some soap-works, a distillery of whisky, and an ale brewery, each conducted in the best manner. The manufacture of all kinds of pottery and earthenware was also formerly very extensive; but at present, with the exception of two small establishments for brown ware, that branch has been discontinued. A foreign trade was once carried on with France and Holland, and also a large coasting-trade, for the convenience of which a good harbour was formed a little to the west of the ancient village, by the family of the Morisons, proprietors of Preston-Grange, from whom it takes its name. The harbour has about ten feet of water at spring-tides, is capable of being considerably deepened, and is one of the safest on this part of the coast. A custom-house was early established here, of which the jurisdiction extends from the Figgat rivulet, on the west, to the mouth of the river Tyne on the east, including the creeks of Figgat Burn, Musselburgh, Port-Seaton, Aberlady, and North Berwick, which are considered as members of the port of Preston. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6766.

Prestonpans is in the presbytery of Haddington and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and patronage of Sir George Grant Suttie, Bart.: the minister's stipend is £287. 18., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £25 per annum. The church, a plain substantial edifice, was erected in 1774, and is adapted for a congregation of 750 persons. The members of the Free Church have built a place of worship in the town. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £34.4., with £50 fees, and a house and garden. Schaw's Hospital, situated at the east end of the village of Preston, fronting the street, was instituted in 1784, by James Schaw, for the maintenance and instruction of twenty-four poor boys, with preference to those of the name of the founder, and of the names of Cunningham, Macniell, and Stewart. The boys are inmates of the asylum for five years, when they are apprenticed to a trade, a small sum as a fee being paid with each. A new building of considerable exterior elegance, and superior internal accommodation, was erected for the institution in 1831; and the grounds around it, which are kept with great care and taste, form a very attractive feature in the scenery of the parish. There are also three adventure schools, attended each by between twenty and fifty children; two girls' schools for sewing, &c.; and an infant school, on the plan of the General Assembly. To the north of the village are the remains of the castle, of which the original foundation is unknown; the keep only is left. In a garden not far from the ruins is preserved the cross of the old town, which by some means became the property of the fraternity of Chapmen of East Lothian, who celebrate an annual festival on the spot. At Dolphingstone are the ruins of several ancient houses, supposed to have been the buildings of some religious house connected with the monastery of Holyrood. Alexander Hume, an eminent philologist, was for some years schoolmaster of the parish. Sir William Hamilton, professor of logic in the university of Edinburgh, is a descendant of the Hamiltons, ancient proprietors of the barony of Preston.


PRESTWICK, an ancient burgh of barony, in the parish of Monkton and Prestwick, district of Kyle, county of Ayr, 1½ mile (N. by E.) from Ayr; containing 1152 inhabitants. The charter erecting this place into a burgh was renewed and confirmed by James VI. at Holyrood House, on the 19th of June, 1600; and the narrative of the charter expressly states that it was known to have been a free burgh of barony "beyond the memory of man, for the space of 617 years previous to the renewal." By the charter of James, it is privileged to elect annually a provost and two bailies, with councillors, to grant franchises for several trades, and hold weekly markets, and a fair on the 6th of November; but the markets and fair are completely swamped by those of Ayr, and most of its other privileges have fallen into disuse. It has still, however, its cross, prison, and council-house, and is governed by certain bailies. The village is situated on the coast road from Ayr to Irvine, and is now a decayed place. Since the union of the parish with that of Monkton, the church has been allowed to fall into decay; but it serves as a landmark for vessels navigating the Frith of Clyde.


PRIEST, an isle, in the parish of Lochbroom, county of Ross and Cromarty. This isle, called also Elan Achlearish, derives its name of Priest from its having been once inhabited, it is said, by a Popish clergyman, who used to shift his quarters from one cove to another as the weather required. It is situated on the west coast of Cromarty, at the entrance of Loch Broom, and is the most distant from the main land of a large group of islands in this quarter; its length is about a mile, and its breadth considerably less; and it is occasionally inhabited.


PRIMROSE, county of Edinburgh.—See Carrington.


PULTENEY-TOWN, a village, in the parish of Wick, county of Caithness, ½ mile (S.) from the town of Wick; containing 3132 inhabitants. This place, which forms a pleasant and populous suburb to the burgh of Wick, owes its origin to the British Fishery Society, who, in 1808, purchased from the family of Duffus a portion of the lands of Hempriggs, which they laid out in building-lots, and granted upon liberal leases for the erection of houses for persons connected with the fisheries of Wick, to further the extension of which they constructed commodious harbours and other works, as detailed in the article on Wick. The village is situated on the south side of the river Wick, over which is a bridge of three arches, connecting it with this burgh; and consists of several well-formed streets of neatlybuilt houses, a handsome range of buildings called Argyll-square, and numerous villas inhabited by the more opulent families of the burgh. The streets are lighted with gas, and the inhabitants tolerably supplied with water. There is a reading and news room supported by subscription. An iron-foundry has been established, with several other works, which are fully noticed in the account of the burgh; and a floating-dock has been constructed, which will admit a vessel of 500 tons, or two of one hundred tons' burthen. In 1844 an act was passed for improving and enlarging the harbour, and for better lighting and cleansing the village, and better supplying it with water. A church, of which the first stone was laid on the 17th of March, 1841, has been erected by subscription, in connexion with the Established Church; it is a neat structure containing 950 sittings, and the minister derives his stipend from seat-rents and collections. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, United Secession, and Reformed Presbyterians. A school called the Academy, for which a spacious building has been erected by the British Fishery Society, at a cost of £1700, is under the superintendence of two masters, to whom the company allow a salary, in addition to the fees; it is attended by about ninety children. There is also a Sabbath school, in which are 320 children.